Rail Budget 2013: Will P K Bansal bite the bullet on fare hike?

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Cash-strapped Railways had effected passenger fare hike across the board by 21% on Jan 22. (Reuters) Cash-strapped Railways had effected passenger fare hike across the board by 21% on Jan 22. (Reuters)
SummaryCash-strapped Railways had effected passenger fare hike across the board by 21% on Jan 22.

this fiscal as the total goods earnings for the last 10 months from April to January is Rs 70,067.36 crore.

Even the freight loading target of 1,025 million tonnes (MT) is likely to fall short by 15 MT as Railways could transport only 927.90 MT during the last 10 months.

The total passenger earnings for the period of 10 months have been Rs 25,924 crore, whereas the target for the current fiscal is Rs 36,000 crore.

Railways, which had got Rs 24,000 crore as general budgetary support (GBS) in the last budget, sought Rs 38,000 crore from the government. It is likely to get about Rs 28,000 crore as GBS in the Rail Budget 2013-14.

The annual plan size of Railways was slashed down to Rs 52,000 crore from Rs 61,000 crore for the year 2012-13 due to the overall cut in the expenditure. Annual Plan size may touch Rs 65,000 crore in the next fiscal.

In the last Rail Budget, Railways had predicted its operating ratio to be 84.9 per cent, whereas at present, its operating ratio is hovering around at an unhealthy 88 per cent

to 89 per cent.

\As far as rolling stock programme is concerned, the announcement will be made for manufacturing of 4,200 new coaches including 600 LHB (Linke Holfmann Busch) coaches in the Rail Budget.

While provision for manufacturing of 670 new locomotives including 20 LNG locos will be made, the Budget will also account for manufacturing of about 16,000 new wagons.

Railways proposes to run as many as 70 heavy haul freight trains over the next year in a move which will not only help decongestion of the busy trunk routes but also enable it to manage its freight traffic till the dedicated freight corridor takes shape.

Despite cash crunch, funds are likely to be announced in the Rail Budget 2013-14 for long pending projects that include laying new lines, electrification, gauge conversion and doubling.

Currently, there are about 347 rail projects worth Rs 1.47 lakh crore pending. Railways is planning to complete some of these works in the next fiscal.

Certain pending projects involving laying of new lines as last-mile connectivity are being identified and funds will be allocated in the budget for completion of those tracks.

Planning Commission has earmarked Rs 1,94,221 crore as General Budgetary Support (GBS) for Railways in the 12th Five-Year Plan. It has asked the national transporter to earn Rs 1,05,000 crore from internal generation and Rs 2,20,000

crore

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